Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Debbie Kennett - Speaker Profile

Name - Debbie Kennett

Background - Debbie is an internationally recognised expert and speaker on genetic genealogy. She writes the popular Cruwys News blog, and is the author of two books: DNA and Social Networking and The Surnames Handbook. She is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, and has worked to promote the responsible use of DNA testing as a genealogical tool. She is a member of ISOGG and the co-founder of the ISOGG Wiki. She is the administrator of several projects at Family Tree DNA including the Cruwys/Cruise DNA Project, the Devon DNA Project and the mtDNA Haplogroup U4 Project.

Day Job - I have a background in publishing. I now work as a freelance editor, proofreader, genealogist and writer.

Night Job - Nights and days tend to blur together, but I am often to be found answering DNA-related e-mails at midnight!

How did you get into genealogy?
I started my family history research in 2001 after the death of my father-in-law. We inherited a collection of family photos but were unable to put names to faces. I started writing letters and sending e-mails to relatives to ask for help with identification. I soon became addicted! As well as researching my own family tree I also researched all my husband’s family lines. I’d been fascinated by my rare maiden name CRUWYS since childhood, and this interest gradually developed into a full-blown one-name study. Now I research not just my own family tree but the family trees of everyone with the surname.

What about your involvement with genetic genealogy?
I first became involved in the world of genetic genealogy in 2007. A number of my fellow members of the Guild of One-Name Studies had already started surname projects, and I decided to set up my own project for the surnames CRUSE, CRUISE and CRUWYS after attending a talk by Chris Pomery at my local family history society.

There was a lot to learn but I soon discovered ISOGG and found that there were always people who knew more than me and who could answer all my questions. It was simply a matter of ensuring that I was always one step ahead of my project members! I started the Devon DNA Project in March 2009. I joined the mtDNA Haplogroup U4 Project as a co-administrator in September 2009, and became the Group Administrator in 2013. 

In 2010 I founded the ISOGG Wiki in collaboration with Tom Hutchison, and continue to be a major contributor. The Wiki has now developed into a major educational resource for genetic genealogy. In an attempt to recruit more people to join my DNA projects I started writing articles for various family history magazines. As a result I was commissioned to write my book on DNA and Social Networking. Last year I was invited to collaborate with Professor Mark Thomas and Professor David Balding at University College London. We now work together to promote the responsible interpretation of DNA test results.

So what will you be talking about at GGI2017?
Autosomal DNA testing is a useful tool for the family historian. It can be used to confirm existing genealogical relationships and to reunite us with our long lost cousins. This talk will cover some of the basic concepts of autosomal DNA testing and look at strategies for working with your results. We will also look at some of the third-party tools and resources that are available to help you.

What DNA tests will be discussed?
All 3 main types of DNA ... Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA

Where can people get more information about you or your topic?

My blog: http://cruwys.blogspot.co.uk/

My Guild profile page: http://one-name.org/name_profile/cruwys/

The Cruse/Cruise/Cruwys DNA Project: http://www.one-name.org/profiles/cruwys.html

The Devon DNA Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/devon

The mtDNA Haplogroup U4 Project: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/U4mtDNA

ISOGG Wiki: http://www.isogg.org/wiki

UCL genetic ancestry website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/mace-lab/debunking

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbieKennett

I am the author of two books, both published by the History Press:

- DNA and Social Networking (2011) (http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/genealogy-books/family-history-dna.html)

- The Surnames Handbook (2012) (http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/genealogy-books/the-surnames-handbook.html).

Debbie's previous talks at Genetic Genealogy Ireland
GGI2015: I will be providing an introductory lecture on the subject of DNA testing which will look at the three different types of DNA test that can be used as an aid to family history research: Y-DNA testing, mitochondrial DNA testing and autosomal DNA testing. I will include practical examples and success stories from my own research to illustrate how the tests work.

GGI2016Cousin-matching autosomal DNA tests first became available in 2009, and are now the most popular of the three tests used by genealogists. Thanks to the power of the large company databases previously insoluble family history mysteries now have the potential to be solved. It is truly an exciting time to be a genetic genealogist. However, the interpretation of autosomal DNA results can be challenging, though new tools are being developed all the time to help with the process. What can we expect in the years to come as we move into the whole genome sequencing era?

These lectures are sponsored by FamilyTreeDNA and organised by volunteers from ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy).

You can watch a video of Debbie's previous presentation by simply clicking on the image below. To watch it in Full Screen, click on the "square" icon in the bottom right of the screen.

Here are links to the two talks Debbie did in 2015:



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